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ISLAM

Aga Khan appeals wife’s bumper divorce payout

Racehorse billionaire and Islamic spiritual leader the Aga Khan is contesting a divorce settlement that awarded his ex-wife a record €60 million ($77 million), a French judicial source said on Thursday.

Paris-based Prince Karim, the 75-year-old head of the 15 million-strong Ismaili Muslim community, divorced his second wife, German singer Gabriele Thyssen, in 2004 and a French court awarded her the sum in September.

But he has now appealed the settlement to France’s Court of Cassation, the country’s highest court, the judicial source told AFP.

Thyssen, who had married the Aga Khan in 2000, had won the settlement in an appeal court after an initial ruling awarded her only €12 million. She had been demanding a €200 million settlement.

The Aga Khan’s fortune is estimated at €10 billion and he is well-known for his thoroughbred racing and breeding operations.

During the divorce case, French judges had difficulty estimating his wealth as he enjoys a rare fiscal privilege that allows him to pay taxes in Switzerland despite living in France.

ISLAM

Erdogan calls French separatism bill ‘guillotine’ of democracy

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday denounced a planned French law designed to counter "Islamist separatism" as a "guillotine" of democracy.

Erdogan calls French separatism bill 'guillotine' of democracy
Erdogan has already denounced the proposed measures as "anti-Muslim". Photo: Adem ALTAN/AFP

The draft legislation has been criticised both inside France and abroad for stigmatising Muslims and giving the state new powers to limit speech and religious groups.

“The adoption of this law, which is openly in contradiction of human rights, freedom of religion and European values, will be a guillotine blow inflicted on French democracy,” said Erdogan in a speech in Ankara.

The current version of the planned law would only serve the cause of extremism, putting NGOs under pressure and “forcing young people to choose between their beliefs and their education”, he added.

READ ALSO: What’s in France’s new law to crack down on Islamist extremism?

“We call on the French authorities, and first of all President (Emmanuel) Macron, to act sensibly,” he continued. “We expect a rapid withdrawal of this bill.”

Erdogan also said he was ready to work with France on security issues and integration, but relations between the two leaders have been strained for some time.

France’s government is in the process of passing new legislation to crack down on what it has termed “Islamist separatism”, which would give the state more power to vet and disband religious groups judged to be threats to the nation.

Erdogan has already denounced the proposed measures as “anti-Muslim”.

READ ALSO: Has Macron succeeded in creating an ‘Islam for France’?

Last October, Erdogan questioned Macron’s “mental health”, accusing him of waging a “campaign of hatred” against Islam, after the French president defended the right of cartoonists to caricature the prophet Mohammed.

The two countries are also at odds on a number of other issues, including Libya, Syria and the eastern Mediterranean.

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